Light Pollution – What is Light Pollution

Light Pollution … and how it affects our sky

This article is not about radio spectrum light pollution – we will focus on the visible spectrum of light.

Simply put, light pollution (LP) is an excessive and obtrusive source of artificial light, mainly created by humans. Anything from a single light-emitting diode to a massive halogen contributes to the light pollution increase which has an adverse effect not only on the night sky, but your health as well – read on.

A photograph of Paris, France taken from the International Space Station (ISS)

What does it do?

The profound blow of light pollution is to reduce our eye’s limiting magnitude – this also implies that we can see less and less stars.

Imagine that our sun is a light bulb – we can’t see any stars during the day as the power that the sun shines with is just too great – the principle is the same: the more light our naked-eye is exposed to the less off the sky we will be able to observe.

What is Light Pollution

Key facts:

  • Light pollution distorts the starlight in the night sky for urban residents
  • Light pollution interferes with astronomical observatories which adds to less findings and discoveries by astrophysicists
  • Light pollution disrupts ecosystems and has adverse health effects

How can we prevent light pollution from happening

It probably sounds trivial, but you can contribute to less light pollution by simply following these rules:

  • Turn on outdoor lights only when necessary (or install motion sensors)
  • Point the lights downward and shield the source with shades to prevent light from travelling sideways and upwards
  • Lower the wattage of your light bulbs or install dimmers
  • Close blinds and curtains at night to keep the light indoor
  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs to contribute to global warming concern

How does Light Pollution affects our sky?

Here’s a quick example by taking a photograph of a house in the middle of nowhere how light pollution affects our sky. The first image represents the sky when a standard exterior flood-light is switched on, and the second one shows when it’s off. The results are astonishing.

Top 5 World Cities affected the most by Light Pollution

  1. Hong Kong, China
  2. London, UK
  3. Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. New York City, New York, USA
  5. Beijing, China

Because the light pollution has increased by over 200% since 1945, NASA and other space institutions had to come up with a way to avoid the confining effects of light pollution by sending massive telescopes into Earth’s orbit – such as Hubble Space Telescope – click the link to read more about the telescope.

Related articles – Massive temperature and its colors have recently published a great article which touches up a subject of massive temperatures and its colors measured in Kelvin degrees – feel free to look up How did life begin here.

For more information on LP in greater detail head to this article on Wikipidia.

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